Pat Shingleton: "Barn Raising and Two Death Valleys"
In the 18th and 19th centuries a barn was the first, largest and most costly structure needed for the family and a “barn raising” was an event that brought neighbors together to assemble the barn. The Amish still embrace this effort and years ago, Home Energy Efficient Team borrowed the barn raising idea to gather neighbors to weather proof local houses. The Boston Globe noted that local residents join construction experts to insulate pipes, install weather stripping and weatherize homes for the winter season. Homeowners pay for the necessary materials as well as refreshments for the “barn raising event” parties. HEET organizers were successful in improving the energy efficiency of homes and in educating residents to maintain an environmentally healthy home. Finally, we're familiar with two Death Valleys. One on the campus of LSU and the other has some impressive credentials that include three confirmed records. It is reputed to be the lowest, hottest, and driest spot in the United States and in the entire Western Hemisphere. The lowest lying area of dry land is Badwater Basin at 282 feet below sea level in the valley. The highest official temperature was 134 degrees recorded at Greenland Ranch on July 10, 1913. The lowest average annual precipitation was 1.66 inches of rain. Interestingly, despite Death Valley being the driest spot, roads in Death valley are normally closed several times a year as a result of flash floods. Rains sweep down the barren slopes of the surrounding mountains and into the valley.